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RCMP Officer Charged After Allegedly Using Excessive Force In An Arrest At A Canadian Airport

The officer allegedly pinned a man down during an arrest with their knee on his neck.

Trending Senior Staff Writer
​RCMP patrol car with its lights flashing in Manitoba.

RCMP patrol car with its lights flashing in Manitoba.

An RCMP officer in Manitoba has been criminally charged with assault relating to an incident of alleged excessive use of force during an arrest at an airport.

This article contains content that may be upsetting to some of our readers.

On August 29, 2022, the Independent Investigations Unit of Manitoba (IIU) released a statement about an incident that happened back in 2019 at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

The RCMP notified the IIU about the incident on August 11, 2021, and an investigation began.

It was alleged that two RCMP officers used excessive force while arresting a suspect at the airport in Winnipeg on August 1, 2019.

According to the IIU's civilian director, there are reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence occurred during the incident and a charge of assault under the Criminal Code against one of the officers has been authorized.

As a result of the investigation, Constable Eric Gerein has been summoned to Winnipeg Provincial Court on September 26, 2022, for assault contrary to the Criminal Code.

CBC News obtained a video of the arrest that was taken by the father of the man who was pinned to the ground by police.

In screenshots of the footage, one RCMP officer can be seen with their knee on the man's head and neck, which puts his face against the ground.

Another officer was captured in the video with their knee on the man's back.

"Let me breathe," the man on the ground said during the interaction with police, according to CBC News.

"You're breathing. When you're talking, you're breathing," someone said back, but it's not clear which officer responded.

In a statement about the incident from 2021, RCMP Manitoba Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said, "Hearing a man clearly informing police officers that he cannot breathe is all too present in our collective consciousness.

"Let me be very clear, the RCMP does not teach nor endorse any technique where RCMP officers place a knee on the head or neck," MacLatchy continued.

RCMP officers were called to an incident at the Winnipeg International Airport where an allegedly intoxicated male assaulted someone. The man reportedly also struck an officer in the face.

"After the individual had been placed in handcuffs, he kicked the arresting officer in the groin and thigh area. The individual was taken to the ground at which point the officer appears to place his knee to the individual's neck," MacLatchy said.

The IIU said no more details related to this incident will be provided because it's currently before the courts.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Lisa Belmonte
    Trending Senior Staff Writer
    Lisa Belmonte is a Senior Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on government of Canada jobs and is based in Ontario.
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